Letts, Matthew G. Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Last reviewed:October 2019
- Cloud-forest types
- Flora and fauna
- Cloud-forest climate
- Extreme events
- Air temperature
- Importance of cloud forests
- Biodiversity and endemism
- Provision of clean drinking water
- Threats to cloud forests
- Land-use change
- Climate change
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Biodiverse ecosystem characterized by frequent to persistent clouds at the vegetation level. Relative to lowland tropical rainforests, cloud forests are shorter in stature and exhibit a denser understory (see illustration). Located in tropical and subtropical regions, cloud forests are typically found at elevations between about 1500 and 2500 m (5000 and 8000 ft). However, elevations range from as low as 500 m (1640 ft) on small tropical islands with steeply sloping hillsides to as high as 3500 m (11,500 ft) in large inland mountain systems at low latitude, such as those of the northwest Andes. This is due largely to the difference in the elevation of the persistent cloud deck. The correlation between the altitude of cloud forests and the size of the mountainous landmass is referred to as the Massenerhebung effect. See also: Cloud; Ecosystem; Forest ecosystem; Rainforest; Tropical forest
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